What’s in a name?

Thursday 9th February 2012

DAVE, from Manchester, whom I’ve not yet met, calls me John in his emails, because my address is john.marcus.moore@, because the best option had gone by the time I opened a gmail account, so I chose my full name rather than one of those fore.surname-number variants, which are too Orwellian, too Ivan Denisovich.

I think this looks nicer, reads better, in lower case:


the name’s marcus, marcus moore:
moore as in bobby the footballer
henry the sculptor, brian the hooker,
brian the novelist, and moore as in
don’t have any more mrs moore
but not as in sir thomas, dart, ex or yorkshire
though i was born in yorkshire and called
john by my father, sidney jack
who was always called jack as he didn’t like sidney
and by my mother, margaret joyce
who was always called peggy or peg
and was one of those mrs moores
who did have some more, namely my three sisters
as in chekhov, but that’s another story

at school i was called, learnt to tolerate even enjoy
first pongo then minnie or min; marcus came later
driven firmly between fore and surnames
like the wedge of a roman cohort
at sixteen, reading classics; it might have been
cato or hermes, gracchus, agrippa or xerxes
not exactly sure why i chose marcus
liked the sound perhaps, the two syllables
the two m’s: in any alphabetical order
i’d always be in the middle

it stuck; still does
makes the anagram romeo scarum:
romeo the great lover, scarum the usual reaction
have almost dropped the john altogether now,
except for official forms and things

what’s in a name? a rose, or fart
by any other name would smell the same
what is in a name? a bit of history
maybe, some family ties, an i d, an id?

but would i, marcus, be the same me
read the same books
wear the same clothes
hear the same music
need the same comforts
bear the same burdens
fear the same torments
lead the same life
had i still been the john i once was?

i know not
but somehow i doubt it
after all john falls
between jogger and joiner
hereas marcus dogs
the footsteps of marchers
and is pretty close to the

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